Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Mystery of the Chinese Universe

So today, like most Saturdays, I went to the Sanyuanli market to pick up some meat, veg and fruit, and then to the Jenny Lou market to buy some other groceries. I wound up with three largish bags, including my don't-go-to-the-market-without-it shopping bag from the Central Grocery in New Orleans that my friend/former colleague Alan gave me a few years ago. As I got out of the cab in front of my apartment building, lugging my three largish bags, it just so happened that my neighbor from across the hall was coming out of the building, saw me, said hello, and then let the front door slam shut, forcing me to put my bags down, fish for my keys, and then re-open the door. He clearly saw me, he clearly could tell that my hands were full, and yet he had no qualms about blithely keeping on his way without stopping to hold the door for me. Mind you, he was clearly not rushing anywhere; he walked at a very leisurely pace with no clear destination, so halting for the 5-10 seconds it would have delayed him would surely not have made any difference to him.

This is symptomatic of the general lack of consideration demonstrated by the Chinese people generally. It is of course very banal, but it makes me wonder why there has never been--to my knowledge--a campaign to promote the idea of holding the door, letting another guy's car enter your lane, slowing down your car so that you don't splash a pedestrian during a rain storm, etc., in this country that just LOVES public campaigns. You'd think, in a country of 1.3 billion people, that there would be a premium on getting people to be a bit more civil, and yet there doesn't seem to be. Just wondering here.